January 25th, 2007

science wins

Explanations and Introductions


So, let me explain the name of my blog and tell you a little bit about myself.

First of all, yes, I am an atheist. I think I always doubted, but I really tried to believe until I was about sixteen or seventeen. It was then that I realized just how unhealthy it was for me to keep trying so hard to believe in something that was so fundamentally destructive. That was more than half a lifetime ago. Perhaps as time goes on I'll talk more about this, but for now, this will have to do.

As for the rest, it comes from a reference to an anti-atheist slur going back to World War II: "There are no atheists in foxholes." The slur is, of course, patently untrue as many atheists have served, and given there lives for this country. But in a context beyond the military, the slur is meant to suggest that a person can only be an atheist when things are going good, but that when things get really dangerous (or in other ways meaningful) that atheists will abandon their disbelief. It's a way of suggesting that atheists are arrogant, and that they aren't really atheists after all, they are just pretending to be. Thus the "atheist in a (metaphorical) foxhole" is meant to suggest just the opposite. Atheists in this country are underseige, and rather than giving up our disbelief, more and more of us are finally speaking up and putting ourselves in the line of fire.

I was born in a slightly left-leaning part of the country, but since I was a teenager, I've lived in some fairly right-leaning, and very religious places. Currently, I find myself in Columbus, Ohio, the bastion of "middle America". But since it's still widely considered acceptable to discriminate and loathe atheists across the country, I doubt this place will prove to be all that much different than Indiana or Pittsburgh.

My goal with this blog is just to talk about some of my experiences and thoughts on religion, local politics, and my experiences as an atheist. Prompting polite discussion would be nice, but otherwise, just documenting these things are good enough.

science wins

church hunting

I've recently moved into this new apartment, and as it turns out, I'm living not far from one of my cousins, who also recently moved to this city. This weekend, my grandmother is coming from out-of-state to visit both of us. She'll be staying with me while she's here (in part because I have more space). She's coming out Saturday afternoon and leaving Sunday afternoon.

My grandmother is extremely religious. She's a devout Catholic. When I was about eighteen, I sent her a letter to "come out" to her as an atheist. I'm told that she cried. She used to send me a card every holiday, including my birthday, to tell me that she was having an order of nuns pray for me... until I begged her to stop as I found it offensive to be constantly reminded that she sincerely believed that being a good person was not enough, and that I was inevitably going to hell unless I could be "saved". Perhaps you can see the conflict coming...

She wants to go to church while she's here.

Hell, I don't know where any Catholic churches are! Besides the fact that I don't use them, I've just moved here. I don't even have a phonebook!


Thank god (you'll forgive the expression) for the Internet.

It's a really weird feeling being an atheist and looking around online for a Catholic church. It just seems so incongruous. I feel like I'm condoning these ridiculous beliefs... but, of course, it's really none of my business. I found one a couple miles away, and printed out directions to the place, though I did warn my mother, who's also coming down for the weekend, that I'm NOT going to church with her. Funerals and weddings, fine, but not weekly masses.

Of course, in a way, it does kinda seem rude, doesn't it? She's coming to see me for a day, but she's gonna leave and leave me alone in my apartment by myself for an hour or so while she does her god-worshipping thing...

Oh, right, I forgot. God is more important than her family.

I love my grandmother, but this is clearly one of those places where we will just never agree. Thankfully, my mother is also coming down this weekend, so she can take grandma to church. Mom doesn't really go herself either, but she's much more willing to be accommodating, and she knows that I have work Sunday morning.